Skip to main content

How to watch SpaceX launch a private lunar lander tonight

Overnight tonight, Saturday, December 11 to Sunday, December 12, SpaceX will launch a Falcon 9 rocket starting a private Japanese lander on a journey to the moon. The launch from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida will be livestreamed, and we’ve got the details on how you can watch below.

ispace M1 Mission

What to expect from the launch

The Falcon 9 will be carrying the ispace HAKUTO-R Mission 1, which will be deployed from the rocket around one hour after launch. The lander will then travel on to the moon, taking several months on its journey before a scheduled landing on the moon in April 2023. The aim is to create a commercial lunar lander that can carry both private and government payloads to the moon. This time, the lander will be carrying a rover called Rashid from the United Arab Emirates, as part of the UAE’s first lunar mission.

SpaceX will be launching this mission with the same rocket it launches payloads into orbit around the Earth, but in this case, the HAKUTO-R spacecraft will continue to travel away from Earth and toward the moon instead of entering orbit.

As well as HAKUTO-R, the Falcon 9 will also be carrying a small NASA spacecraft called the Lunar Flashlight, which will orbit the moon as well. This mission aims to study the surface of the moon to detect water ice deposits around its south pole, which could be an important resource for future human explorers there.

How to watch the launch

The launch will be livestreamed by SpaceX, including the final preparations before liftoff, liftoff itself, the catching of the first stage booster, and payload separation. The launch window opens at 2:38 a.m. ET on Sunday, December 11 (11:38 p.m. PT on Saturday, December 10) with coverage beginning around 15 minutes before. If there are any issues with the launch such as inclement weather, there is a second launch opportunity early on the morning of Monday, December 12.

To watch the livestream you can either go over to SpaceX’s YouTube page for the event or use the video embedded at the top of this page.

Editors' Recommendations

Georgina Torbet
Georgina is the Digital Trends space writer, covering human space exploration, planetary science, and cosmology. She…
Will SpaceX’s failed Starship flight impact NASA’s moon plan?
Artist concept of the SpaceX Starship on the surface of the Moon.

SpaceX’s Starship vehicle suffered what the spaceflight company called a “rapid unscheduled disassembly” on Thursday. In other words, it blew up.

The good news is that the uncrewed rocket cleared the pad and flew for around four minutes before meeting its fiery end. It means the SpaceX team will have plenty of valuable data on the rocket's flight performance, enabling it to refine the rocket’s systems to give it an improved chance of completing the second test flight and sending the Starship to orbit.

Read more
SpaceX Starship rocket launches in first test flight, but explodes in midair
spacex starship launch explosion

SpaceX has launched its integrated Starship for the first time, with the spacecraft and rocket leaving the launchpad on a test flight. However, not everything went smoothly during the test, as the rocket exploded before the separation of the Starship spacecraft from the Super Heavy rocket booster.

The launch from SpaceX's Starbase facility at Boca Chica in Texas saw the Starship leave the launch pad at 9:33 a.m. ET, consisting of the integrated Starship spacecraft and the Super Heavy Booster, which form the world's most powerful rocket. The combined Starship will be used for future missions to the moon and beyond, launched from a launch-and-catch tower standing at an impressive height of nearly 500 feet tall.

Read more
How to watch SpaceX launch record-breaking Starship rocket on Thursday
The Starship, comprising the first-stage Super Heavy and the upper-stage Starship spacecraft, on the launchpad at SpaceX's facility in Boca Chica, Texas.

Starship Flight Test

Update: SpaceX called off Monday's launch attempt due to a technical issue. It's now targeting Thursday, April 20. Full details below. 

Read more